Republican senators press for Taiwan jet sale
WASHINGTON • Two senior US Republican senators have asked the Trump administration to allow the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Taiwan, saying it would help it "remain a democracy" in the face of threats from China.
The sale of the jets could increase tensions with Beijing, which was infuriated when President Donald Trump signed legislation this month that encourages the United States to send senior officials to Taiwan to meet counterparts there and vice versa.
Yesterday, the office of Taiwan's president reiterated its support for the legislation.
'Sun shield' could protect Great Barrier Reef
SYDNEY • An ultra-fine biodegradable film some 50,000 times thinner than a human hair could be enlisted to protect the Great Barrier Reef from environmental degradation, researchers said yesterday.
Scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Biology have been buoyed by test results of a floating "sun shield" made of calcium carbonate that has been shown to protect the reef from the effects of bleaching.
Thousands leave Ghouta after rebel surrender
BEIRUT • Some 7,000 people departed eastern Ghouta for Syrian rebel territory near the Turkish border yesterday under a deal arranged by Russia to surrender the enclave to the Syrian government, Russian state media and a war monitor said.
Rebels have been gradually leaving Ghouta since Thursday, accepting safe passage for themselves and their families to Idlib in north-western Syria after they were defeated in a fierce assault by the Russian-backed Syrian military.